Although China still occupies a prime position in global pig production, with a production of 47 million tons, pig farming in Brazil has shown significant growth since 2004, with an increase in production of 14.6% between then and 2007. This increase in production was the highest among the pork-producing countries as can be seen in Table 1. Even so, the country’s participation in world production is modest, with 3.005 million tons, occupying fourth position in the world ranking.
To make this growth possible, the Brazilian pig production chain has been constantly modernized, increasing productivity each year and improving the quality of the herds. The dominant productive profile is the partnership with large industries, with the only producer responsibility being to raise the animals, utilizing feed from the industries as well as technical assistance.
Brazil utilizes the best genetic material available in the world, has highly skilled professionals and a dynamic and efficient structure of research and development. There also exists in the country, large national and multinational companies manufacturing industrial equipment and chemicals. These factors have resulted in better productivity of the herds year by year, starting in 2004 with 19.5 finished/sow/year to 21.4 finished/sow/year in 2007.
The competitiveness of the Brazilian production system is also the result of other factors ranging from environmental conditions to the organizational structure of production, which can be summarized as follows:
- Low cost of equipment and facilities due to a more suitable environment for the animals;
- Only in some specific microclimates, as in the Brazilian South, does the minimum temperature fall below zero, during the winter;
- High quality of the health of our herds. Brazil is the only major world pig producer that is free of PRRS, currently the most severe swine disease;
- Low cost of corn and soyabean meal in Brazil. Due to its suitability for food production, Brazil is one of the major producers and exporters of these commodities;
- Availability of labor. Although the availability of abundant and cheap labor is becoming less of a reality in Brazil, the quality of labor in the animal production and processing sectors is stressed. The shortage that began in some regions is being offset by increased productivity due to improvement in processes and increase in automation;
- Presence of strong structure to support scientific and technological developments in the country. Brazil has a National Center for Research in Pigs and Poultry linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, several universities with highly developed research areas in pigs, and an awareness of all the technological advances being made globally.
1. Embrapa Suínos e Aves/CONAB. Custo de produção de suínos e aves. Disponível em http://www.cnpsa.embrapa.br , acessado em: 20/04/2008.
By Santos Filho, J.I.; Bertol, T.M.
Source: © CAB International 2010, Pig News and Information 31 (1), 1– 8